Offseason departures, injuries, ineffectiveness, and a four-game suspension have thinned out the New England Patriots’ wide receiver group over the past six months. And while the group that remained – Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, Cordarrelle Patterson – has plenty of athletic upside, it failed to consistently produce over the first three weeks of the regular season and take some pressure off others in the lineup
As a result and to bolster its depth and overall positional quality, the Patriots added numerous receivers from the outside. Not one of them, however, was able to stick so far. The latest acquisition to try its luck is also the most hyped-up: Josh Gordon, whom New England acquired via trade on September 17. Unfortunately for the Patriots, though, the veteran missed his first potential game due to a hamstring injury.
Today, there appears to be a realistic chance that Gordon finally suits up and plays his first game since joining the team in exchange for a fifth-round draft selection – at least according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:
The #Patriots, who traded for Josh Gordon (hamstring) a week ago, may see the debut of their talented WR today vs the #Dolphins. There is a “good chance” he plays today, source said, provided a pre-game workout goes well and Bill Belichick decides he’s ready.
While Gordon should not be expected to single-handedly turn the Patriots’ offensive fortunes around, having him in the lineup would still help the unit overall. Not only does the 27-year old bring outstanding athleticism to the table, he also comes with the reputation of being a big-play receiver. If nothing else, this should force the Miami Dolphins to take some of the attention away from Rob Gronkowski and the rest of the pass catchers today.
But, who knows, maybe Gordon’s debut will look like that of another big-name trade acquisition? One that also was slowed down by a hamstring injury before his debut against an AFC East team: Randy Moss. As noted above, this should not be expected – but if there is a place and quarterback to make it happen at least to some extended, New England is it.